Travel

Beautiful winning photos for the 2020 Travel Photographer of the Year competition – from a lightning storm to a baby wombat


The sheer talent (Picture:TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

The results for the 2020 Travel Photographer of the Year contest are in, and the winning photos are really something to behold.

There were 25,000 entries from photographers in 147 countries, with the overall winner being Vladimir Alekseev – the first-ever Russian to take the top prize.

The entries ranged from pictures of a rare tornado and a lightning storm to pictures of a wombat and her joey, with some competitors being as young as 12 and 17.

After a stressful year during which the rest of us went pretty much nowhere, looking at these incredible photos from all over the world is a great reminder of all that’s out there waiting for us.

The competition’s founder, Chris Coe, said in a statement: ‘Travel photography in a global pandemic, with numerous travel bans, has been challenging to say the least, but travel photographers are a resourceful breed, as the latest set of winning images is a testament to.

‘These winners are spectacular in their beauty, range, drama, elegance and, in some cases, poignancy. In tough times they will bring a warmth and joy to many and confirm that there is skill, insight, vision and art in travel photography.’

Here are some of the most striking pictures from winners in different categories and those that earned ‘special mentions’ from the judges.

Taken by overall winner Vladimir Alekseev (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Vladimir Alekseev, who captured lightning in Russia’s Tver region, said: ‘Lightning is another element of light in nature.

‘You don’t even have to travel far from home to shoot lightning.

‘You just need to wait for your moment. And then it’s a matter of technology.’

Everyone loves a cuddle (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Jorge Bacelar, from Portugal, came second in the ‘People of the World’ portfolio category.

This photo, which shows Abilio Carteirista, a farmer in Murtosa, Portugal, also won the ‘People’s Choice Award’.

Jorge said: ‘Now over 80 years old, he spends much of his time in the stable taking care of his animals.’

The Best Single Image in a Travel Portfolio winner (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

This photo Paul Sansome took in Hanoi, Vietnam was the Best Single Image in a Travel Portfolio winner.

UK-born Paul said: ‘I had to exercise extreme patience to achieve this shot at a very busy junction in Hanoi where traffic from left, right and behind me would constantly block the desired image.

‘I spent an hour before, as I had hoped, just a single bike drove past part of the world’s longest mosaic mural producing an image that I call “Green Energy.”‘

Walmsley described it as a ‘melee’ (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Peter Walmsley, of the UK, won the ‘One Shot – Colours of life’ category with this photograph taken of a flower market in Bengaluru, India.

He said: ‘You think you’ve visited busy markets before? You haven’t until you’ve visited Bengaluru. The flower market is absolutely chaotic! Dive in and you will be carried along with the flow of customers.

‘Photographs in the middle of this melee are hard to achieve, but think a little laterally (well, upwards) and you can climb a couple of storeys and get this bird’s eye view of the scrum below.’

Striking (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Jordi Cohen, who came in first in the Travel Folio category, took this picture of a young boy in Kerala, India, during a martial arts class.

This was snapped in north-west Iceland (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

The UK’s David Gibbon got a special mention for capturing an Arctic fox walking against the wind in Iceland.

Portell portfolio got second place in the catetory (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

This picture of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre in Australia by Australian Scott Portell was among those that helped him score the runner-up prize in the ‘Landscapes and Earth Elements’ category.

The Mafate region of Reunion Island (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

The travel folio of Nicolas Raspiengeas, who hails from France, was Highly Commended.

On the above photo, he said: ‘The eroded landscapes of Reunion Island are the result of volcanism combined with heavy rainfall.

‘The Mafate region is the most famous of these jagged landscapes and, as the light is often harsh, I had to wait for a morning where the clouds gave a better atmosphere.’

You don’t see a foggy iceberg every day (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Alekseev snapped this pic of fog over an iceberg, a rare natural phenomenon, in Greenland.

In the US, this is what’s called ‘fall’ in the US (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

American Ben Skaar, just 17, took this Young Travel Photographer of the Year: 15-18 years-winning photo of Hew Hampshire in autumn.

He said: ‘I slept in my car for two nights to get this shot. I drove up to the White Mountains hoping to capture the vibrant autumn colors.

‘I woke up at 4:30 that Sunday morning and, as the sun rose over the mountains, the colours seemed to be set ablaze.’

This commended image of Lan Ha Bay in Vietnam was taken by Vietnamese photographer Nguyen Tan Tuan (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)
The winning photo for Best Single Image in a Portfolio: Landscapes & Earth Elements (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Australian James Smart’s picture of this rare tormado in Simla, Colorado won Best Single Image in a Portfolio: Landscapes & Earth Elements.

James said: ‘This “drill bit” type of tornado is a rare anti-cyclonic tornado, which happens in around two per cent of tornadoes.

‘It touched down in open farmland, narrowly missing a home near Simla as it tore up the ground, gathering the soil’

Taken in Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

American Lawrence Worcester got a Special Mention in the Nature, Sealife, Wildlife category for this adorable picture of a wombat and her joey in Tasmania.

He said: ‘Having found wombats to be generally elusive on my travels in Australia, and in Tasmania in particular, I was excited to find them easier photographic prey in Cradle Mountain National Park.

‘Moreover, I can hardly describe how excited I was to find several with “joeys”. It was quite a surprise the first time to see the mother nibbling on grass in the front while the joey sampled a few morsels out the back.’

This was taken in the Beqa Channel in Fiji (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Pavlos Evangelidis, of Greece, said of this picture, which won him the Best Single Image in Nature, Sealife, Wildlife title: ‘Don’t worry, the fish are fine.’

Pavlos said: ‘They’re pilot fish – or, to be precise in this case, golden trevallies. They help the shark navigate and keep clean in exchange for scraps and protection”

Taim also said: ‘In war life has a different meaning – everything that is normal simply disappears’ (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

This picture, taken in Saraqib, Syria by Syrian Mouneb Taim, shows puppeteer Walid Rashed entertaining children.

Walid has been touring hard-hit neighbourhoods and refugee camps since 2013.

The lake is a seasonal home for 11 endangered species (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Wenming Tang from China came in second in the Nature, Sealife, Wildlife Portfolio category with this shot of birds in Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province.

Total eclipse of the… snow (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Vladimir Alekseev also snapped a total solar eclipse in 2015 in Svalbard.

He said: ‘It was one of the most important and impressive astronomical events. In the morning, a blizzard began, and the sky was covered with clouds.

‘But literally an hour before the eclipse, the weather improved. And I managed to capture this amazing moment.’

Hold tight, little buddy (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Vladimir managed an extreme close up of a snail Myanmar.

He said: ‘Travel photography does not always capture a landscape or a reportage. Very often it captures a macro world.

‘These are elements of what surrounds you. Little joys in life that we don’t pay attention to at home.’

The specific location of this apartment block is not known (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

China’s Yu Shen got a ‘Special Mention’ for snapping this poolside scene

Yu Shen said: ‘In the apartment’s open-air pool, the girl swims while the man sunbathes, creating an interesting contrast between the two poses.

‘The light from between the buildings creates a special light effect on the water. The photo was taken from the 29th floor.’

Another taken by winner Alekseev (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Vladimir Alekseev also captured this scene in Russia’s Yamal Peninsula.

He said: ‘For the indigenous people of the far north, deer are wealth. This includes food, housing, clothing, and transportation.

‘And children, from a very young age, know how to drive reindeer on special sleds called narta.’

Taken by as Eddy Verloes (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

This photograph won the Best Single Image in a Portfolio: People of the World category.

The photographer was Eddy Verloes, of Belgium, who said: ‘This is part of my series Losing Our Minds, which was taken at the beginning of the Covid crisis in 2020.

‘This is a photo of ultra-Orthodox Jews who were enjoying their freedom in an unorthodox way in the storm (of their lives) and escaping the lockdown.’

Round fellow (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Australian Joshua Holko of Australia was awarded a special mention for capturing this Mongolian Pallas cat.

He said: ‘The Pallas cat is instantly distinguishable by its round pupils and almost totally round body. In its winter coat the cat is nearly as round as it is long.

‘Aware of my position the cat watched curiously and without fear as I slowly repositioned myself to get the composition I wanted.’

Part of a Highly Commended Nature, Sealife, Wildlife collection taken by Alexej Sachov of Germany (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)
Taken by a 12-year-old (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

This soulful snap was taken by Irish 12-year-old Indigo Larmour, who won Young Photographer of the Year.

In it, two worshippers are talking at the notoriously beautiful Masjid Wazir Khan mosque in Lahore, Pakistan.

This was among Austrian Marco Steiner’s winning Nature, Sealife, Wildlife collection (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)
Another one by Nicolas Raspiengeas (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)
This picture, by Italian Pier Luigi Dodi, was the winning photo in the One Shot Close to Home category (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)
The Kalsoy island in the Faroe Islands (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Italian photographer Alessio Mesiano captured this shot – part of his Commended Travel Folio collection – of Kalsoy island in the Faroe Islands.

He said: ‘Going to this place is always a gamble. It’s located on Kalsoy, a small island connected by a ferry only a few times per day.

‘Such special light is possible only during winter, so I had to face the extreme Nordic weather. It was windy and freezing.’

Hunting for food (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Hong Kong’s Richard Li from was crowned Travel Portfolio runner-up with his black and white shot of a bear hunting for salmon near a volcano in Kamchatka, Russia.

Richard said: ‘There are many salmon spawning in the lake under the Kamchatka volcano in July and August every year, which is the most delicious food for brown bears.

‘Although we would think it is looking at the volcano, this oddly human-like figure is actually looking for fish in the lake.’

Newton’s aerial shot won the category (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

This photo taken off the coast of Taiwan, captured by David Newton of the UK, scored the top prize in the ‘One Shot – Islands’ category.

The iTravelled category winner (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

The winner of the iTravelled category was Azim Khan Ronnie from Bangladesh

This picture was taken in Dhaka, and shows people praying at Baitul Mukarram, one of the biggest mosques in the world, while roughly 40,000 people were inside.

The River House’ holiday home in the Drina River outside Bajina Basta, Serbia (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

Irene Becker, Hungary scored a Commendation for this image of a Serbian holiday home in the Solitude category.

This shot, captured by Mark Anthony Agtay, from the Philippines, one the One Shot Solitude category (Picture: TPOTY 2020 http://www.tpoty.com)

The winning photos can all be viewed at tpoty.com, and will be displayed in May in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, London.

Other Travel Photographer of the Year exhibitions will be at Chester Cathedral and Sharjah this year.

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